1 in 5 graduates expect $4,000 starting pay: STJobs

According to a poll by STJobs, one in five local under/graduates expects no less than $4,000 as their starting pay.

This contrasts sharply with the average starting pay for a bachelor's degree (without honours) at $2,741, according to an earlier report last month.

In view of realistic market payouts, some soon-to-be graduates seem to be asking for the sky.

In February, STJobs.sg conducted a survey among close to 200 fresh graduates and undergraduates across a wide variety of academic disciplines in local tertiary institutes to find out what their salary expectations are.

12 per cent of all respondents expected to receive less than $2,500 per month while 70 per cent of them expected to be paid up to $4,000 per month. The remaining 18 per cent felt they should receive more than $4,000 in remuneration.

What to do in an inteview when asked about salary expectations

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When asked why they felt they deserved their expected salary, half of the respondents said it was because they would be graduating from a recognised university.

This reasoning seems to align with an earlier mypaper report whose survey findings - conducted and compiled by a HR consultant firm - found that one in five employers placed an average premium of $214 per month for local university graduates over those with degrees from overseas.

Jerry Wee, Director of JRT Recruitment, agrees that employers tend to prefer fresh graduates from a recognised local university compared to private tertiary institutions, and would even be willing to pay them 10 to 15 per cent more.

"The tightening of EPs for employment, coupled with rising costs and difficulty of hiring experienced qualified locals will put fresh grads in good stead to compete in the job market," he said. However, he also cautioned that fresh grads need to be realistic in their expectation on remuneration.

Yu Lan, 26, a student from Nanyang Technological University, is one of them who thinks that her starting salary should be at least $4,000 as she has "strong analysis skills and trouble-shooting ability".

On the other hand, 25-year-old Samuel Tan expects to be paid up to $4,000 in starting salary as other jobs he has applied to offer similar payouts. Other reasons cited include "I have the required abilities and good work ethics and experience from my part-time jobs".

Interestingly, 1 in 5 fresh graduates admitted that they had no clue about the usual starting pay of the job they are looking for and thought up a random figure for their expected remuneration.

Most of them said they decided on their expected salary after consulting with friends who worked in a similar industry (46 per cent) or assumed that the industry or organisation they wanted to work in would be willing to pay them their expected salary (23 per cent).

Among those surveyed, 79 per cent are from local universities, 11 per cent from local polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), and the remaining from private institutions.

The fresh grads also comprised of Singaporean and Singapore Permanent Residents (61 per cent) and foreigners (39 per cent), and 9 in 10 fresh grads are aged between 20 to 27 years old.

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